Eating Thai in Vietnam

By Christina Kim - June 12, 2016


It sounds absurd to be traveling to a country and not tuck into a meal of their local offering, but opt for another country's instead.

Yet that was what I did, and since I am not one for convention when it comes to food, it is not that uncommon either.

Furthermore, it would be boring not to enjoy varied flavors just because you are in that particular country and be confined to the local offerings, day after day.
Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against the local Vietnamese cuisine, but there are times when I just feel like having a different taste altogether or just hanker that craving for some food which could be just out of the ordinary.
(Sorry but not sorry for being such a picky eater).

Besides, it would be interesting too, to experience the way cuisines from other countries end up in their local kitchen's interpretation, though the chefs could still be from the cuisine's country of origin.

I am sure, even the locals do not go for their own local cuisine everyday, and just like us, when we are back in our own country, do we really have our local nasi lemak every single meal, on a daily basis?

I am sure it is a sound no; though our country is blessed with more than enough varieties of food other than nasi lemak, which if listed down, could probably feed the whole world by the day, but that is not the main point here.

It is not like I am looking for one that is too far-fetched anyway, and it is not my first time here in Vietnam, so I can get away with opting for different cuisines all the time; especially when it is from one that is still within the region, close to home and one that is loved by almost everyone.

Known for its rich and colorful culinary flavors, the Thai cuisine is definitely a winning entry for its exuberance in invoking anyone's appetite and exotic to satiate even the most adventurous palates.

I would not have thought of having Thai in Vietnam, had it not been for praises sung for a particular restaurant located in the neighborhood; or rather in a commercial complex nearby.

At a glance, the resplendent and elegant yet trendy interior of the restaurant could be mistaken for a place for happy hours or late night prowls and it is not entirely wrong.

While the front of the restaurant lures with the selection of fine wines and beers for the office crowd to enjoy a drink or two for after work relaxation, there is far more than the bar as one walks into the welcoming warmth of the dining area and into the inviting company of the soft plush seats and the meticulously arranged setting dressed in a velvety luxe hue.


The fine art of detail which goes into the arrangement and interior design is already convincing anyone who steps into the restaurant; making it half the battle won and nailing that part on first impression.

Ultimately, the real victory lies in the food which is the main objective patrons landed themselves in this part of the restaurant or even in the restaurant in the first place.

For that, I was indeed keen to anticipate their offerings and to taste how far they could bring the flavors of Thai to their turf and in turn, appease the appetites of their hopeful diners, looking for that exotic taste on their taste buds back at home.

I was quite pleased that they did not disappoint.

From the luscious bites of the refined appetizers to the smoking sensation of the savory Tom Yam Goong tantalizing one's desire, it was just as I would have imagined and perhaps even a little more.

They had certainly raised that bar of expectation with their display of skills in redefining the relishing cuisine from their neighboring country.

Thai Fish Cakes
I love fish cakes; and this is packed with that tang of fish paste well-infused with the spices and minced vegetables which just makes each bite a fulfilling one; and stirring more lust for another.



Tom Yam Goong with Seafood

This is fiery yet toned in its rich and lightly creamy flavors, livening the fresh luscious pieces from the sea in forms of thick dense seabass fillets, juicy prawns, clams and succulent squids soaked with the usual flavor-inducing varieties of tomatoes, mushrooms lemongrass, tamarind in a strong combination to send shots of excitement down one's throat and straight to awaken the senses; not to mention stirring the warmth in the abodes of the stomach.



It may be too much to take in all that excitement yet the delicate and savory goodness of the final dish proved to complete the suspense created by the preceding dishes.

One that is not of the ordinary nor usual offerings yet modest in its appearance; a result of the creativity of the chef revealed in the clever twist of marrying tastes of nature with that of the deep sea in the presence of a special yet personal blend of spices sets them apart and stuns the tastes of even the pickiest eater.

Grilled Seabass in Banana Leaves with Special Thai Sauce

The freshness of the juicy fillet is well-preserved and contained within the aromatic leaves as they survives the warmth which forces the bursting flavors of the specially concocted bits of spices to penetrate into the tastes yet treading carefully on thin line so as not to overwhelm in its overall savor.


Every bite is just as memorable as it looks.

It was perfectly suited for the rainy weather; this comforting meal of warmth packed with bursting flavors and pride of the dancing spices as they land in satiety. 

I am not paid to write this, but just simply my personal experience as I enjoyed the meal; one that I went in for a simple fulfillment yet was surprised by what surpassed my expectation.

It is quite an adventure to take a step off the beaten path in the culinary department when in another country; as I have done, and go for another country's cuisine, but I would say it is not all that straying off the path for it is one even the locals would do on a regular basis.

After all, conventions would never bring you out of the ordinary and once in a while, you just have to follow your heart and just take that step away from the paved road; with caution and calculated risk of course.

You could end up being surprised and also surprise in that boldness within yourself.

For all you know, I could end up trying Vietnamese in Thailand too.

Who says I can't?


Restaurant featured:
Koh Thai Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge
Kumho Asiana Plaza
39, Le Duan Street, Ben Nghe,
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam


*Author's Note: 
This is not a sponsored/promotional post, and solely based on author's personal opinions and do not represent the general public. 
Experiences vary from one individual to another.
You do not have to agree with me.

Art Direction and Photography Styling by Me.
Photos/Videos all belong to me and are copyrighted.
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